Skip to main content

Isaiah DeQuincey Newman Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SCU-SCPC-001
The Newman papers consist of two-and-a-half feet of correspondence, speeches, sermons, photographs and other records. General papers include correspondence and other materials of a general nature. Letters from November, 1976 include strong recommendations from John West and Bryan Dorn for Newman to be appointed to an ambassadorial post.

Topical files exist for a variety of subjects. NAACP materials include Newman’s detailed monthly, annual and special reports, 1961 to 1969, as Field Secretary. These reports discuss, often in some detail, Newman’s work in organizing new branches of the NAACP, speaking appearances, etc. Also present is a lengthy transcript, over six hundred and fifty pages, of testimony in a 1992 federal court case involving the NAACP, the city of Columbia, and racial discrimination, the makeup of Richland County Council, and other matters. Among those testifying was Modjeska Simkins.

Topical files relating to Newman’s association with the Methodist Church include extensive records regarding his efforts to establish the Middleton-Rosemond United Methodist Church in Columbia, 1983 to 1985. Midcom Corporation sought to establish an African American owned FM radio station in Columbia. Newman served as a Director of the Progressive Development Corporation along with Earl M. Middleton and Matthew Perry. Incorporated in or about 1968, the company was intended to develop real estate for lower income people.

WEB, Inc. was organized in 1980. The following year, the organization commemorated the efforts of George Elmore, of Elmore v. Rice, 1947, to secure African American participation in the South Carolina Democratic Primary with a granite marker.

Schedules consist of twenty-one pocket sized appointment books, covering most years between 1950 and 1984. There are two volumes for 1966. The volumes became moldy at some point and following digitization, the originals were removed from the collection.

Sermons consist chiefly of notes rather than transcripts of complete sermons. Some are marked with more than one date, presumably showing that the Rev. Newman used this text on more than one occasion. In these instances, the sermon is filed using the earliest date.

Photographs are present showing the Rev. Newman throughout his career. A file of photographs relate to the Peters Field Human Services Corporation. Newman helped start this organization, which brought potable water and sewer services to this neighborhood. Among the general papers is the program, 12 July 1981, for the first anniversary celebration of this organization.

Clippings are arranged into general and topical subseries. The former are arranged chronologically and relate to Newman and general topics of interest. The latter are arranged by topic. The file on “Education, Desegregation, Higher,” includes articles on the desegregation of Clemson University and the University of South Carolina and the takeover of Voorhees College by African American students in 1969.

Oversized items consist of an expression of sympathy to the Newman family by the South Carolina House of Representatives, 23 October 1985, and a Newman campaign placard, 1983.

Dates

  • 1929 - 2003

Creator

Access

Library use only.

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

DeQuincey Newman was a Methodist pastor, civil rights activist, and entrepreneur. A leading figure in the Civil Rights movement in South Carolina, he helped organize the Orangeburg branch of the NAACP in 1943, helped found the Progressive Democratic Party, and served the South Carolina NAACP as state field director from 1960 to 1969. From 1972 to 1974, he served as executive assistant to the Director of the S.C. Department of Social Services. From 1974 to 1981, he was Director of the Governor's Rural Regional Coordination Demonstration Project. In 1983, at age 72, he was elected to the South Carolina Senate, thus becoming the first African American to serve in that body since Reconstruction. Due to ill health, he resigned from the Senate in July of 1985.

Biographical Note

DeQuincey Newman (1911-1985), Methodist pastor, civil rights activist, and entrepreneur, led a remarkable life. He was a leading figure in the Civil Rights movement in South Carolina. He helped organize the Orangeburg branch of the NAACP in 1943, helped found the Progressive Democratic Party, and served the South Carolina NAACP as state field director from 1960 to 1969. From 1972 to 1974, he served as executive assistant to the Director of the S.C. Department of Social Services. From 1974 to 1981, he was Director of the Governor’s Rural Regional Coordination Demonstration Project. The confidant of many of South Carolina’s most distinguished leaders in government, in 1983, at age 72, he joined their ranks with his election to the South Carolina Senate. He became the first African American to serve in that body since Reconstruction. Due to ill health, he resigned from the Senate in July of 1985 and passed away shortly thereafter.

At his death, his friend, U.S. Senator “Fritz” Hollings said of Newman, “The Reverend Newman’s life is testimony to the transformation this country has undergone in the last thirty years. He not only was there to pry open the door of opportunity, he walked through it. In the years when equal justice under the law was only a dream for people of his race, the Reverend Newman was on the front line fighting the battles that dismantled the structure of segregation and discrimination, along with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Roy Wilkins.” Newman’s protégé, Ike Williams, who succeeded him as field director of the NAACP, said, “He stuck with a steady course in the movement,” and remembered Newman having said, “The problems of civil rights will never be solved on one side of the table. The black community and the white community must come together in mutual trust.” [The State, 22 October 1985]

Born on April 17, 1911, in Clyde Township, Darlington County, to the Rev. Meloncy C. and Charlotte [Lottie] Elizabeth Morris Newman, Newman was the fifth of their sixteen children. [In different biographical notes, the father’s name is spelled differently, including Mellon and Melondy.] He was educated in the Williamsburg County public schools and attended Claflin College. In 1931 he was admitted to ministry by the United Methodist Church and served as a pastor in both Georgia and South Carolina. In 1934, Newman received his BA degree from Clark College of Atlanta.

On April 27, 1937, Newman married Anne Pauline Hinton. They had one child, Morris DeQuincey Newman, now Emily Morris DeQuincey Newman. About that same year, he graduated from the Gammon Theological Seminary of Atlanta, and then returned to South Carolina for good.

From 1950 to 1956 he served as District Superintendent of the Sumter District United Methodist Church. In 1959, the Newmans moved to Columbia, and from 1960 to 1969, Newman served the NAACP as state field director. In 1969, he accompanied Senator Fritz Hollings on Hollings’ now famous “Hunger Tours,” showing Hollings areas of abject poverty. Newman was a delegate to the 1968, 1972, and 1980 National Democratic Conventions, and a member of Governor-elect John West’s Inaugural Committee, 1970.

Newman served as executive assistant to R. Archie Ellis, Director of the state department of Social Services, from 1972 to 1974. In 1974, he was a field coordinator for Bryan Dorn’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign. From 1974 to 1981, Newman served as director of the Rural Regional Coordination Demonstration Project, later called Division of Rural Development, in the office of the Governor. In 1977, Newman was considered for appointment as Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. He received the Order of the Palmetto in 1979 and, in 1982, was named the Rural Citizen of the Year by the National Institute on Social Work in Rural Areas.

Long a close advisor to leaders in South Carolina government, in October, 1983, Newman won a special election to represent Senate District 19 following Alex Sanders’ resignation to become a judge. He won a run-off victory in the Democratic primary over Christopher King and in the general election defeated Republican John Camp. At the age of 72, Newman became the first African American in the Senate since 1888. He was re-elected in 1984 but resigned in ill health that summer, and passed away in October, 1985.

In addition to his work in the ministry and as a leader in the civil rights movement, Newman was a true entrepreneur. Among his successes was creating Midcom, Inc., operator of WDPN FM of Columbia, which he served as President. He also founded Statewide Homes Foundation, a non-profit low income housing sponsor, the Senior Citizens Service Center, the Coastal Plains Rural Development Corporation, and Ebony Development Corporation, a consortium of building contractors. Newman also was founder and first minister of Francis Burns United Methodist Church in Columbia.

Provenance

Donated by the family of Isaiah DeQuincey Newman.

Digital Collection

The Newman papers have been digitized in their entirety. Digital Collection

Copyright

Copyright of the Isaiah DeQuincey Newman Papers has been transferred to the University of South Carolina.

Processing Information

Processed by H. J. Hartsook, 2006.

Repository Details

Part of the South Carolina Political Collections Repository

Contact:
Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA
803-777-0577

Status
Completed
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard